sprock·​et ˈsprä-kət How to pronounce sprocket (audio)
: a toothed wheel whose teeth engage the links of a chain
: a cylinder with teeth around the circumference at either end that project through perforations in something (such as motion-picture film) to move it through a mechanism (such as a projector)

Examples of sprocket in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Watch for the front and rear sprockets expanding and contracting. Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica, 30 Nov. 2023 When force is applied, the pulleys move out and the sprocket as a whole expands. Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica, 30 Nov. 2023 Le Prince and his assistants devised a mechanism whereby pins installed in the projector’s rotating drums would engage with sprocket holes on the edges of the film. Nat Segnit, Harper's Magazine, 4 Mar. 2022 The derailleurs should move the chain easily between sprockets. George Petras, USA Today, 7 Apr. 2023 This approach was chosen because the sixteen-valve engine had to meet the space restrictions of several different Volkswagen models, and there was not enough room for the two large sprockets needed to drive both cams directly by the belt. Csaba Csere, Car and Driver, 21 Mar. 2023 The first movies for which the soundtrack was printed on the film itself—in a narrow strip of spectral lines, next to the sprocket holes, which an optical reader converted to an audio signal—came a few years later. David Owen, The New Yorker, 7 Nov. 2022 In a movie ostensibly built out of cell phone and security-cam footage, how do the visible sprocket holes of celluloid and static reminiscent of VHS tracking problems pop up here? John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Sep. 2022 Carbon fiber is lashed rather heavily on the Ducati Streetfighter V4 Lamborghini, with the heel guards, rear-seat bodywork, TFT dash cover, ignition-switch cover, rear-sprocket protector and Akrapovič end cap all sporting carbon-fiber construction. Peter Jackson, Robb Report, 2 Sep. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sprocket.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


origin unknown

First Known Use

1879, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sprocket was in 1879

Dictionary Entries Near sprocket

Cite this Entry

“Sprocket.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sprocket. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


sprock·​et ˈspräk-ət How to pronounce sprocket (audio)
: one of many points that stick up on the rim of a wheel shaped so as to fit into the links of a chain
: a wheel having sprockets

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